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Safe & Sound Archive

The First wants to keep you Safe & Sound. Previous articles on your security are posted below.

Safe and Secure Holiday Wishes from The First
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by: Keith Hughes, Vice Chairman and CEO

As we enter the holiday season, First National Bank of Hutchinson wishes you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. As you begin your holiday shopping, The First urges you to continue to think about being safe and secure.

A new survey from the National Cyber Security Alliance found that more than a third of holiday gift givers plan to purchase internet-connected devices as gifts this holiday season. However, more than half reported concerns over the security of such devices following the recent distributed denial of service against online platforms like Amazon, Twitter and Reddit. Sixty-two percent of respondents also admitted they were “somewhat confident” to “not confident at all” about these devices’ safety and security and 66 percent are either “not sure” or do not think there is enough information available on how to secure their devices.

According to the press release, consumers are taking more actions to protect themselves by:

  • Changing the default password on their device before using it;
  • Attempting to understand what personal information the device collects, how it is being used and how it is stored;
  • Reading information from the manufacturer about how to keep the device secure over time;
  • Keeping mobile apps up to date with the latest software updates; and
  • Researching the past history of security/privacy concerns about a device.
     

For more information on Online Holiday Shopping, link here.

https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/resources/holiday-shopping-backgrounder

This article adapted from information provided by the American Bankers Association and staysafeonline.org.

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6 Money Tips for Family Caregivers
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by: Keith Hughes, Vice Chairman and CEO

According to the Caregiver Action Network, more than 90 million Americans care for a loved one living with a disability, disease, or reduced financial capability as a result of aging. Financial caregivers, play an important role in ensuring that all finances ¾ from routine to complex ¾ are managed wisely, to help loved ones maintain the best quality of life possible.

In recognition of National Family Caregiver Month, The First is providing some tips to help individuals understand their role as financial caregivers:

  • Learn the rights and restrictions that apply. Financial caregivers, such as those with a power of attorney, trustees, and federal benefits fiduciaries, have a duty to act and make decisions on a loved one’s behalf. Learn the legal responsibilities of assigned authority in order to better execute the role.
     
  • Manage money and other assets wisely. Financial caregivers may be in charge of daily, unexpected and future expenses a loved one may incur. It is extremely important that caregivers minimize unnecessary costs and budget accordingly to ensure that all money is properly allocated, especially if the beneficiary has a fixed income or limited finances.
     
  • Recognize danger signs. Seniors have become major targets for financial abuse and fraud. Make sure to stay alert to signs of scams or identity theft that may put a loved one’s assets in peril.
     
  • Keep careful records. When acting as a financial agent, proper documentation is not only encouraged but required. Make sure to keep well-organized financial records, including up to date lists of assets and debts and a details of all financial transactions.
     
  • Stay informed. Monitor changes in financial status of the beneficiary and take appropriate action, as needed. Also, be sure to stay current on changes in the laws affecting seniors.
     
  • Seek professional advice. Consult a banker or other professional advisors if in doubt about what to do. 
     

To learn more information about National Family Caregiver Month and the role of a financial caregiver, visit www.caregiveraction.org. For tips and additional resources, visit aba.com/seniors.

This article adapted from information provided by the American Bankers Association.

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Corporate Account Takeover/Business Email Compromise
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To read things every business owner or manager should know, please click here.

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Updated Debit Card Fraud Protection – Text Notification Now Available
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Updated Fraud Protection Summer 2016
In 2012, First National Bank of Hutchinson implemented a fraud scoring system called Falcon Fraud Manager (FFM), for all signature-based Debit Card transactions. The system monitors all debit card signature transactions each day for potential fraud. An additional method of contacting our customers when fraud is suspected was implemented in 2016 to enable contacting customers via text messages.

How does it work?
Each time a signature-based transaction is made with your debit card, FFM analyzes it and assigns a score on a risk-based scale; the higher the score, the greater the likelihood of fraud. If the analysis indicates a high risk, FFM will attempt to contact you to determine whether the transaction is legitimate. If FFM cannot make contact, and depending on the severity of the score, a temporary block may be put on your account to prevent fraudulent transactions. Signature-based transactions are monitored 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Prior to the 2016 upgrade, contact was made via a phone call. Following the upgrade, FFM will attempt to text customers when suspected fraud occurs. This should mean FFM is able to contact our customers much faster to verify whether a transaction is valid or fraudulent. The text messages are free.

What do you need to do to take advantage of this program?
If you are unsure whether The First has your mobile number, please contact us immediately so that we might add this to your records.

Why do you need to know about this program?
Should FFM detect a suspicious transaction and need to contact you, it will be either via a text message or an automatic voice dialer on behalf of First National Bank of Hutchinson. The text or call will be an attempt to verify the validity of the transaction. When calling, the automatic FFM system will verify they are talking to the cardholder by asking for date of birth or ZIP code. Note: FFM will never ask for any numbers off of your Debit Card. If the transaction is confirmed to be fraud, you will be transferred to a live representative for further action.

Calls will be placed:                    8:00 a.m. to  9:00 p.m.
Text messages will be sent:        7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Text messages will appear similar to the following but with the last four digits of the account number and the suspicious amount and vendor. 

FreeMsg: First National Bank Fraud Dept: 8003694887: Suspicious txn on acct xxxx: $xxx.xx
ABC CO. If authorized reply YES, otherwise reply NO. To Opt Out reply STOP.

Note: If you reply YES, you are indicating that this is a valid purchase transaction on your Debit Card and you are authorizing it to process. If you reply NO, you are stopping the transaction from processing. If you reply STOP you will no longer receive text notifications. However, FFM will continue to contact you by phone call.

Are there other upgrades coming to the notification system?
Yes! In the coming months FFM will also be adding notification by email to those customers for whom we have an email address. Please notify us anytime any of your contact information changes, including address, all phone numbers, and email addresses.

Will this affect me when I go on vacation or travel abroad?
Yes! Usually when you travel, it is not a part of your “normal” purchasing behavior. We strongly recommend that before leaving, you contact us to notify us of your travel plans. You may call us during banking hours or login to Electronic Banking and complete the Debit Card Travel Form. We also consider it a best practice to take a second source of payment with you (cash, credit card, and/or prepaid debit cards). Failure to notify us of your travel plans could result in your card being temporarily blocked or suspended if suspicious activity is detected.

What can I do to help?
Contact us to make sure that we have current phone numbers, including a mobile phone number for you! We encourage you to review your account activity as often as possible. For real time review, we recommend using Online Banking and/or Mobile Banking. You can also access your account information by contacting us at any of our locations during banking hours or via our 24-hour telephone service, First Contact 620.694.2336. Report any suspicious or unauthorized transactions immediately. The sooner you report, the quicker we can act to identify and prevent further activity.

Questions?
Please contact any of our locations or call our general number 620.663.1521 or 800.310.1521, during banking hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Ransomware - Tips for Businesses to Avoid Attacks
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Businesses have become targets to a growing online fraud scheme known as ransomware. To help combat these malicious threats, click here to read some tips for businesses.

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What You Need to Know About Phishing
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Phishing is a tactic cybercriminals use to gain your personal information. Their ultimate goal is to use your information to gain access to your identity and your money. To find out how it works, and what you can do to protect yourself, please click here.

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7 Ways to Avoid Online Fraud
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Internet fraud continues to be a growing problem in the U.S. Fraudsters use many tools, resources and tactics to access your personal information. If you navigate the web, as most of us do every day, it’s extremely important that you safeguard your personal information by developing stronger passwords and ensuring that your online security software is up to date. To see tips that The First recommends you follow, please click here.

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Avoiding ATM Skimming
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First for Fighting Fraud Together - Don't Skim the Details

First National Bank of Hutchinson continually works to ensure our customers bank in a safe and secure environment. In recent months there have been increasing reports of ATM skimming. Though we have not had an occurrence at an ATM owned by The First, we do want to pass along a few tips to help you be aware when using any ATM. Please click here to read further.

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FDIC Cybersecurity Newsletter
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A Bank Customer’s Guide to Cybersecurity

What Consumers Can Do...
and What Banks and Regulators Are Doing...
to Help Prevent Online Fraud and Theft

Click here to read the Cybersecurity Newsletter.

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Email Addresses Now .bank
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Phase I of .bank Conversion Now Completed – Fighting Fraud Together!

As announced in late 2015, First National Bank of Hutchinson is among the first banks to start transitioning to the .bank domain. We’ve now completed Phase I of that transition. Our employees email addresses are now changed to first.last@fnbhutch.bank (rather than first.last@fnbhutch.com).

For the time being, you can reach an employee using either version. When you receive an email from an employee it will be from the .bank version. We recommend you update your contacts with the new version.

Why .bank?

The First is committed to keeping you safe and secure. Use of .bank means enhanced security and verification requirements have been met in order to reduce the risk of cyber threats and enable us to continue to build on our highly-trusted, secure environment. It’s one more way we’re First for You.

  • ONLY verified banks are allowed to use .bank domain
  • .bank is verified and therefore a more secure website
     

How does this help keep me more secure?

If you receive an email from someone using fnbhutch.bank, you can be assured that is actually from The First. We always encourage you, however, that if ever any doubt on the authenticity of an email, to always check with us beforehand. Always be cautious about linking inside emails.

What is the next phase?

Phase II will be the conversion of our website page addresses, including Online Banking, to: .bank. For now, you can access our homepage using either fnbhutch.com or .bank. In mid to late April, 2016 we will make the change so that all of our website pages use a .bank address. We encourage you to start using fnbhutch.bank now!

Will this impact my Online Banking?

We will post notifications of the exact date change in Online Banking, so look for messages there. When the change is made, the first time you log into online banking via computer or mobile app, you will need to request a Secure Access Code via text message or phone call to one of the numbers we have on file for you.  In a few moments, the 4 digit code will arrive.  Enter the code and submit. You can then register your device if you choose to or continue receiving a Secure Access Code upon each log in.  Receiving a Secure Access Code upon every log in is the most secure experience. 

First for Your Security

.bank is protected, trusted, more secure and easily identifiable. Approval to use a .bank domain is ONLY eligible to verified members of the global banking community including banks, bank regulators, and bank-related core processors. When you see .bank, you can be assured that you are at a legitimate bank.

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12 Tips for Protecting Your Mobile Devices
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As use of mobile devices continues to climb, cyber criminals are targeting those gadgets more frequently. According to a report by the Federal Reserve, 52 percent of smartphone users say they have used mobile banking in the past 12 months. In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week , March 6 - 12, we're highlighting 12 ways you can take extra precaution to protect the data on your mobile device. To learn how, please click here.

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Business Cyber Strategies
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10 Cybersecurity Strategies for Small Businesses

Click here to read.

 

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Tax Identity Theft - Tips to Help Keep You Safe
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Tax identity theft has been the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the past five years. As we begin to file tax returns, The First offers these tips to help you prevent tax ID fraud.

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Cyber Security - Safety & Security Tips for Parents
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"The Internet is a wonderful place for learning and entertainment, but like the world around us, it can pose dangers if precautions are not taken. Allowing free access puts your child, your computer, and your personal data at risk. Help to instill good judgement in your children by encouraging them to take some simple common sense steps."

To learn how, please click here.

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Identity Theft Resource

New Resource for Identity Theft Victims

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The Federal Trade Commission has announced the launch of the website, www.IdentityTheft.gov, a resource that makes it easier for victims to report and recover from identity theft. This website provides an interactive checklist that walks people through the recovery process and helps them understand which recovery steps should be taken upon learning their identity has been stolen. It also provides sample letters, specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, and advice for people who have been notified that their personal information was exposed in a data breach. A Spanish version of the site is also available.

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Online Safety - Tips for Parents

For online safety tips, please click here.

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Browser Updates Needed

For more information, please click here.

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Cyber Security Update
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Fall 2014 Newsletter (including Cyber Security Update Information)

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ATM Skimmers - Things to Know and Watch for!
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ATM skimming basically is the placement of an electronic device (a skimmer) on an ATM which will then record information from a card’s magnetic strip whenever a customer uses the machine. ATM skimming is a growing criminal activity. Skimmers come in all shapes and sizes and can often be difficult to spot. They contain components to steal users’ card and PIN information. Most fraudsters use an all-in-one ATM skimmer which stores card data via a magnetic stripe reader and has a built-in hidden camera designed to record the PIN sequence after an unsuspecting customer slides a card into the compromised machine.

Typically, skimming devices are installed for short periods of time, usually just a few hours, so they’re often attached to an ATM with nothing more than double-sided tape. When the criminal removes the device, stolen account information is used to encode onto blank cards which are then used to make withdrawals from victims’ accounts at other ATMs.

Tips on How to Avoid being Skimmed

- Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it…be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue. If you notice any of these items, notify the bank or company immediately.

- When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.

- If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers).

- Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas…they are a popular target of skimmers.

- If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.

First National Bank of Hutchinson frequently checks all of our ATMs to watch for skimming devices. Always be diligent and if ever anything looks different, unusual, or out of place please notify us immediately.

For more information on skimming please visit:

http://krebsonsecurity.com/all-about-skimmers/

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Tax Season Tips
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This article derived from information provided by the American Bankers Association.

7 Tips to Frustrate a Fraudster During Tax Season

The weeks leading up to April 15 – tax deadline day – are often vulnerable ones for consumers, as W-2s and tax returns containing their personal information circulate over the internet and through the mail.

According to a Javelin Strategy and Research study, 12.7 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2014. Though down from 2013, it remains the Federal Trade Commission’s number-one consumer complaint.

Identity thieves look for every opportunity to steal your information, especially during tax season and consumers should be on high alert and take every step they can to protect their personal and financial information.

To help consumers do that, The First is offering the following tips:

  • Don’t share your secrets.
    • Don’t provide your Social Security number or bank account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Neither your bank nor the IRS will contact you requesting this information.
       
  • Beware of phishing emails.
    • Phishing attacks occur when criminals use ‘spoofed’ emails and fake websites of trusted organizations to coerce consumers into sharing personal information. During tax season, fraudsters often pose as the IRS. Don’t be fooled. The IRS will never initiate taxpayer contact via unsolicited email to request personal or financial data.
       
  • Shred sensitive papers.
    • Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. For papers you must keep, like tax documents, keep them in a secure place.
       
  • Keep an eye out for missing mail.
    • Fraudsters look for monthly credit card statements, W-2s, tax refunds or other mail containing your financial information. If you don’t receive your W-2s, and your employer indicates they’ve been mailed, or it looks like it has been previously opened upon delivery, contact the IRS immediately.
       
  • Protect your computer.
    • Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date, particularly if you plan to file your taxes online. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.
       
  • Use online banking to protect yourself.
    • Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.
       
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
    • Additionally, if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
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Heartbleed - Patched Sites
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Heartbleed - Patched Sites

There have been several news articles recently about the vulnerability of websites due to a newly discovered bug called Heartbleed. The First recommends you read the following:

Heartbleed Bug: Check Which Sites Have Been Patched

We compiled a list of the top 100 sites across the Web, and checked to see if the Heartbleed bug was patched.

The Heartbleed bug is serious. Disclosed less than two days ago, the Heartbleed bug has sent sites and services across the Internet into patch mode.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Windows XP - User Tips
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Microsoft Windows XP - Tips for Users

Are you a user of Microsoft Windows XP operating system and wondering about what to do? The First recommends you read the following:

Yes, Microsoft Will Use A Popup to Push Users Off of Windows XP

Normally, an unexpected popup is a reason to worry: is my PC infected with a virus? Is this an ad? In this case, yes, you’re supposed to worry—but the message is legit.

In its ongoing bid to push users from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8, Microsoft will push a popup to their machines on March 8. But the company has also partnered with LapLink for a free migration tool to assist with the transition.

Click here to read the entire article

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Debit Card Fraud
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New Debit Card Fraud Protection

New Fraud Protection Starting April 30, 2012
On April 30, 2012, we will be implementing Falcon Fraud Manager (FFM), a fraud scoring system for all signature-based transactions on your debit card. We are excited to add this layer of protection from possible account fraud, thus minimizing your risk and protecting you against losses.

How does it work?
Each time a signature-based transaction is made with your debit card, FFM will analyze it and assign a score on a risk-based scale; the higher the score, the greater the likelihood of fraud. You may have experienced this type of protection before as many credit card companies apply similar analysis of credit card transactions. If the analysis indicates a high risk, a FFM will attempt to contact you to determine whether the transaction is legitimate. If FFM cannot make contact, and depending on the severity of the score, a temporary block may be put on your account to prevent fraudulent transactions. Signature-based transactions are monitored 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

What do you need to do to take advantage of this program?
Not a thing!

Why do you need to know about this program?
Should FFM detect a suspicious transaction and need to contact you, it will be via an automatic voice dialer on behalf of First National Bank of Hutchinson. This call will be an attempt to verify the validity of the transaction. The automatic FFM system will verify they are talking to you by asking for the last four digits of your social security number. Note: FFM will never ask for any numbers off of your Debit Card. If the transaction is confirmed to be fraud, you will be transferred to a live representative for further action.

Calls will be placed during the following time frames:

Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday and Holidays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Will this affect me when I go on vacation or travel abroad?
Yes! Usually when you travel, it is not a part of your “normal” purchasing behavior. We strongly recommend that before leaving, you contact us to notify us of your travel plans. You may call us during banking hours or login to Online Banking and complete the Debit Card Travel Form. We also consider it a best practice to take a second source of payment with you (cash, credit card, and/or prepaid debit cards). Failure to notify us of your travel plans could result in your card being temporarily blocked or suspended if suspicious activity is detected.

What can I do to help?
Contact us to make sure that we have current phone numbers, including a mobile phone number for you! We encourage you to review your account activity as often as possible. For real time review, we recommend using Online Banking and/or Mobile Banking. You can also access your account information by contacting us at any of our locations during banking hours or via our 24-hour telephone service, First Contact 620-694-2336. Report any suspicious or unauthorized transactions immediately. The sooner you report, the quicker we can act to identify and prevent further activity.

Questions?
Please contact any of our locations or call our general number 620-663-1521, during banking hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Windows XP - Business Tips
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Microsoft Windows XP - Tips for Businesses

Are you a business who uses Microsoft Windows XP operating system and are wondering what to do in light of the April 8 end of support? The First recommends you read the following:

How Small Businesses Can Prepare for End of Windows XP Support

Most small and medium businesses do not have a technology strategy or the budget to hire someone to come up with one. They are fundamentally on their own when it comes to understanding some of the language from Information Technology vendors, what it means to them and what to do about it. And when they do try to understand and act on it, they are being taken away from their core business.

So in light of the announcement that Microsoft is ending security updates and technical support for Windows XP operating system, here are some things you need to know and some steps you can take to protect your business.

End of life for Windows XP or Office 2003 on April 8 doesn't mean that systems will stop working. They will work the same as they did on April 7. What it means is that Microsoft will no longer provide patches or updates for Windows XP and will not provide support for the product.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Signs a Phone Call is SPAM
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Click here to read.

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Avoid Tech Support Phone Scams
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Cybercriminals don't just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:

  • Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
  • Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
  • Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.

 

Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.

Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know

Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you're using.

Once they've gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:

  • Windows Helpdesk
  • Windows Service Center
  • Microsoft Tech Support
  • Microsoft Support
  • Windows Technical Department Support Group
  • Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)
     

Report phone scams

Learn about how to report phone fraud in the United States. Outside of the US, contact your local authorities.

How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams

If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:

  • Do not purchase any software or services.
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the "service." If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Take the caller's information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.

   
What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person

If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

  • Change your computer's password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
  • Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)
     

Will Microsoft ever call me?

There are some cases where Microsoft will work with your Internet service provider and call you to fix a malware-infected computer—such as during the recent cleanup effort begun in our botnet takedown actions. These calls will be made by someone with whom you can verify you already are a customer. You will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes.

More information

For more information about how to recognize a phishing scam, see Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently.

If you need help with a virus or other security problem, visit the Microsoft Virus and Security Solution Center.

To help protect against viruses and other malicious software, download Microsoft Security Essentials.

The original source of this article at Microsoft can be found here.

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Holiday Scams Safety Tips
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McAfee’s Online Safety Tips for the Top 12 Holiday Scams


The holiday season is upon us once again and now that you’re making your lists (checking them twice) and planning for all of the upcoming festivities, you’re likely using your digital devices to help lighten the seasonal load. But for every Santa there is a Grinch, a cybercriminal waiting in the wings to turn all that holiday cheer into fast cash as he spreads his scams and malware.

Holiday shopping in 2013 is expected to jump even more than it did in 2012, up to an estimated $602.1 billion spent in the months of November and December. Online shopping in particular is growing rapidly, with ecommerce sales predicted to jump up 15% from last year’s digital holiday sales to more than $60 billion, and mcommerce accounts for 16% of that number.

To help you stay protected as you search high and low both on and offline for the perfect presents for your loved ones, McAfee has released its annual “12 Scams of Christmas” list full of digital dangers to be on alert for as you surf the web for holiday deals and steals and how to be safe in the coming months and beyond.

Click here to read McAfee's safety tips for holiday scams.
 

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Holiday Online Shopping Tips
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5 Safe Online Shopping Tips for This Holiday Season


If Black Friday is the traditional holiday shopping kickoff for bricks (i.e., brick-and-mortar stores), then Cyber Monday is considered the kickoff for clicks. This term was coined for the phenomenon involving the Monday after Thanksgiving - the one day out of the year when people rush to work... so they can use their high-speed office computers to take advantage of fantastic online sales.

Though it’s still a massive holiday sales day, thanks to huge deals and free shipping, Cyber Monday is really just the beginning of the online holiday shopping season.

Now, people shop all season long from the convenience of their couch, commuter train or local coffee shop, using phones, tablets and other mobile devices

In a recent survey of 1,215 mobile device users, Webroot found that 50 percent of respondents are likely to purchase holiday gifts using their smartphones or tablets this shopping season - up from 22 percent who did so in 2010.

There is no better time to shop online than the holidays, when the hoards of shoppers can sap your energy and holiday spirit. But the Grinch may be stealing more than the presents from Whoville; he might be stealing your personal information if you don’t take precautions for safe online holiday shopping.

Click here to read Webroot's online shopping tips for the holiday season.
 

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Spam Email Alert
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A letter of warning from the First about fradulent emails.

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Jave Exploit Warning
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In the News; Disable Java in your Browser

January 14, 2013

Lately, there have been news reports from the Department of Homeland Security warning of Java exploits.

Due to the widespread use of Java software, usually found as a plug-in on Internet browsers including Internet Explorer and Firefox, the security flaw is believed to have the potential to place over 850 million PCs at risk worldwide.

To read more and learn how to disable Java, please refer to the links provided.  Click the link or cut and paste in the address bar of your browsers.  As always, contact your computer professional with questions or concerns about the safety of your computer.

http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/625617
http://gizmodo.com/5975475/how-to-disable-java-in-your-browser/
http://krebsonsecurity.com/how-to-unplug-java-from-the-browser/
http://www.zdnet.com/zero-day-paranoia-and-the-reality-of-modern-web-browsing-7000009726/

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New Virus Targets Computers
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US warns users of new Citadel ransomware hit

By Michael Cooney, Network World
May 31, 2012

The nasty Trojan known as Citadel malware, which is based on Zeus, has typically been used to extort money from online banking users, but a new variant is making the rounds that tries to get your money by saying you looked at child porn sites and must pay a violation fee to the U.S. Department of Justice.

This variation, called Reveton, lures the victim to a drive-by download website, at which time the ransomware is installed on the user's computer, says the U.S. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Once installed, the computer freezes and a screen is displayed warning the user they have violated United States Federal Law. The crimeware declares the user's IP address was identified by the Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section as visiting child pornography and other illegal content.

"To unlock their computer the user is instructed to pay a $100 fine to the [DOJ], using prepaid money card services. The geographic location of the user's IP address determines what payment services are offered. In addition to the ransomware, the Citadel malware continues to operate on the compromised computer and can be used to commit online banking and credit card fraud. Below is a screenshot of the warning screen. This is an attempt to extort money with the additional possibility of the victim's computer being used to participate in online bank fraud. If you have received this or something similar do not follow payment instructions," the IC3 stated.

In February, the IDG News Service wrote that Citadel would evolve and spread rapidly because its creators adopted an open-source development model.

Citadel is based on Zeus, one of the oldest and most popular online banking Trojans. Zeus was abandoned by its creator in late 2010 and its source code leaked online a few months later, IDG wrote. Since its public release, the Zeus source code has served as base for the development other Trojans, including Ice IX and now Citadel. Cyberthreat management firm Seculert said it had identified more than 20 botnets that use different versions of this Trojan. "Each version added new modules and features, some of which were submitted by the Citadel customers themselves," the company said. The most interesting aspect of Citadel is its development process, which is similar to the ones behind community-supported open source projects, Seculert said.

Like its parent, Citadel is sold as a crimeware toolkit on the underground market. The toolkit lets fraudsters customize the Trojan according to their needs and command and control infrastructure. However, the Citadel authors went even further and developed an online platform where customers can request features, report bugs and even contribute modules, the IDG story stated.

Such extortion schemes are all the rage, it seems. The IC3 recently said it had received several complaints regarding an escort website -- though it did not name the site -- that said the site stole their identities and photographs were posted on the site along with slanderous and inaccurate comments about them. The victims then received extortion-type emails from subjects offering to help remove the information from the website for a fee. This scam is extremely detrimental to victims on a personal and professional level. Some victims reported their marriages and reputations have been damaged, the IC3 stated.

The website disclaimer states individuals named on this website provided their information freely to verify and confirm their identity for the purpose of making arrangements to meet and spend time with a paid companion. The website also states they are located outside the United States and Europe, and they do not have to respond to any subpoena from these countries, the IC3 stated.

The original source of this article at Network World can be found here.

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